American League Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, April 7th (All times eastern)
Texas Rangers (3-3) at Boston Red Sox (2-4), 7:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Texas - Tanner Scheppers (0-0, 15.75) Boston - John Lackey (1-0, 3.00)
(SportsNetwork.com) - Still in search of their first home win of the season, the Boston Red Sox welcome the Texas Rangers to Fenway Park Monday for the opener of a three-game set.
Texas avoided a series sweep at Tampa Bay on Sunday thanks largely to Yu Darvish, who blanked the Rays for a 3-0 victory in his season debut. A stiff neck forced Darvish to skip his scheduled opening day start, but he was downright nasty on Sunday with six strikeouts and a walk in seven shutout innings. In the process, he also surpassed Kerry Wood to become the fastest player in MLB history to reach 500 career strikeouts.
Elvis Andrus went deep in the eighth inning for only the Rangers' second home run of the season, and closer Joakim Soria retired the side in order in the ninth for his first save since Sept. 11, 2011.
Meanwhile, Boston is looking to get back on track after being swept by the Milwaukee Brewers at home over the weekend. The Red Sox had not lost an interleague series in their previous 12 tries.
"We've had a difficult time bunching hits together," manager John Farrell said. "We're doing our damnedest, I know that, to try to build an inning, to try to hit to the situation. At some point, you credit the quality of pitches made in key spots by the opposing pitcher."
Despite Boston's struggles over the weekend, Rangers manager Ron Washington knows his team faces a tough test in this series.
"They're still nine tough innings there," Washington said. "I just hope we can pitch, get some hits, put some runs on the board and win some ballgames."
Making the start for Boston is John Lackey, and the former Angels hurler will face Texas for the 39th time in his career. However, the right-hander has an unsightly 6.01 ERA for his career against Texas, his highest ERA against any American League team.
For Texas, Tanner Scheppers looks to rebound after getting tagged for seven runs in just four innings against Philadelphia on opening day. That start was the first of Scheppers' big league career, as he got the nod in place of an injured Darvish.
The Rangers boast a .674 winning percentage against Boston since 2009, the best percentage of any Red Sox foe in that span. This will be the Rangers' only trip to Fenway this season.
04/07 10:24:53 ET